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Reports round up: Cable workers lay claim to a rise more than 2 percent

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Issue 2625
Whipping up solidarity on the picket line
Whipping up solidarity on the picket line (Pic: Unite)

Workers at Prysmian Cables in Eastleigh, Southampton, struck for the second time on Wednesday of last week.

There was a great spirit on the picket line, as most Prysmian workers are out, apart from agency workers, who the strike committee are not concerned about.

European lorries have turned away from the picket line.

The Unite union members are fighting against a miserly 2 percent pay rise, which is all this incredibly profitable company have offered—although recently they gave more to the cable-jointers.

There has been a large police presence which the strike committee believe has been requested by the company.

Management have also shown how vindictively petty they can be by not allowing pickets to use company toilets.

Workers plan to continue the action on 10 and 17 November, with pickets every day of the strike.

Glyn Oliver

Tell MPs that education needs extra funding now

UCU union members will meet in central London on Saturday for a conference to discuss the battle to defend education.

The conference, “Resisting the market—uniting for pay, pensions, democracy, equality and justice” takes place at University College London.

Sessions will look at reclaiming the curriculum, how to organise strikes, resisting redundancies and defending migrants.

The event comes as UCU members in further and higher education near the end of a ballot for strikes over pay. Workers in universities want a rise of 7.5 percent, while those in colleges are pushing for a 5 percent increase.

The ballots, across 110 universities and 147 colleges, end on Friday of next week.

UCU members will protest in central London next Wednesday to demand more money for further education.

The lobby of parliament is part of a week of action over funding backed by the bosses’ Association of Colleges group.

Lobby. Wed 17 Oct, assemble 12.15pm, Waterloo Place for march to Parliament Square. Go to to register for the conference

Uber drivers want £2 a mile

Uber drivers in London, Birmingham and Nottingham struck for 24 hours from 1pm on Tuesday.

Workers asked people to “not cross the virtual picket line by logging into the Uber app as either a driver or passenger.”

They are in United Private Hire Drivers, part of the Independent Workers of Great Britain union.

Their demands include an increase in fares to £2 a mile, a reduction in the commission levied by Uber to 15 percent, and a halt to unfair dismissals.

As part of the strike, workers protested outside the firm’s headquarters on Leman Street in east London.

Rallies also took place in Birmingham and Nottingham.

On Thursday of last week UberEats couriers, Uber drivers and supporters occupied the lobby of Uber’s offices as part of the fast food national day of action.

Around 50 people sprang a surprise protest in the lobby of Aldgate Tower, where Uber’s UK headquarters are based in London.

The protesters stayed in the lobby for almost an hour doing a series of chants including, “Uber, Uber you can’t hide, we can see your greedy side.”

Workers’ sit-in at closing care home

Care workers at a residential care home in Stalybridge, Greater Manchester, staged a sit-in last week.

They say they had to use £5,000 of their own money to buy food for residents after the company operating the site went into insolvency.

Some workers at Carson House Care Home said they faced eviction from their own homes. They had been left unable to feed their families and pay bills because they had not been paid themselves.

Amazon deal was not what it seemed

Amazon workers are angry at the global retail giant after it emerged a pay increase announced recently for its workforce would be offset by the removal of share and incentive schemes.

This will cost some workers £1,500 in a single year.

Amid much fanfare, Amazon had announced an increase in minimum wage rates to £10.50 an hour for workers in London, and £9.50 an hour outside London.

But the company failed to mention the significant cut.

Telford packaging workers want a rise

Workers at WZ Packaging in Telford, Shropshire, are fighting over pay having received no rise for over four years. The managing director has awarded himself a £60,000 bonus each year since 2014.

The Unite union is now demanding a 3 percent increase and workers have begun an overtime ban.

Andy Brown

Messages of support to Unite regional officer Christine Crolley, 6 Victoria Square Wolverhampton WV1 1LD.

Offshore strike vote begins in North Sea

GMB union members in the North Sea offshore industry have begun a strike ballot.

They want a 4 percent pay rise for those covered by the Offshore Contractors Association (OCA) agreement.

Negotiations with the OCA have been taking place since January and two pay offers have already been rejected.

McCluskey cleared by unions’ regulator

The Certification Officer, the regulator for Britain’s trades unions, announced last week that there was no breach of rules during the 2017 election for the post of general secretary of the Unite union.

This was won by Len McCluskey. The Certification Officer dismissed every charge brought against the union by Gerard Coyne and a member of his campaign, Richard Brooks.

Campaign against Universal Credit 

Activists have launched Norfolk Against Universal Credit (NAUC) under the banner of “Stop and Scrap Universal Credit”.

The rollout of the Universal Credit benefit is due to continue in the county over the next few weeks.

In Great Yarmouth it has already been blamed for a rise in homelessness and food bank usage. And the problems faced by disabled people in Norfolk are compounded by the fact that it is a mainly rural county with poor transport communication links.

This isolation is exacerbated by cuts to social care, which leave many disabled people as prisoners in their own homes.

Wendy Smith and Mick Hardy

Railway bosses face safety strikes at end of the tunnel

Hundreds of train guards walked out last Saturday in the latest action over defending jobs and safety.

RMT union members on South Western Railway began a 48-hour strike last Friday and were joined by Northern rail workers the following day.

And Northern train gaurds were set to strike again on Saturday and again on Saturday of next week.

The workers are fighting the introduction of more driver only operation (DOO) trains, which make travel inaccessible and less safe. RMT general secretary Mick Cash slammed the penny-pinching bosses who want to use DOO because it means services won’t always have a guard on the train.

He said, “Other train operators have been prepared to engage seriously with RMT on the crucial issue of a guaranteed second safety-critical member of staff on their services.

“Northern and South Western have dragged their heels and made a mockery of the talks.”

Shutdown on Central Line

Tube drivers on the Central and Waterloo and City lines struck last Friday, bringing large parts of London’s transport network to a standstill.

Aslef union members walked out for 24 hours over a breakdown in industrial relations.Finn Brennan, Aslef organiser on the London Underground, said workers were striking over a range of issues. “We have seen drivers dismissed because of one mistake after 25 years of excellent service,” he said.

“Or drivers have been reduced in grade because they had the temerity to take time off sick after a traumatic incident.”

Pay fight looms at Luton

Low-paid cleaners at London Luton Airport could be heading for strikes after unanimously rejecting a pay offer.

Bosses offered the Unite union members working for outsourcer Sasse a three-year pay deal.

It would still leave workers paid under the living wage of £8.75 an hour that workers are demanding.

Unite regional officer Jeff Hodge said, “Profits are up for Sasse and Luton Airport announced profits of £39.6 million.

“Luton and its contractors have no excuse for paying workers below the real living wage.”

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